Switching to a Nexus 10
For the last two years, I had been using Lenovo’s first ThinkPad Android Tablet. However, with technological advancements and the lack of support from Lenovo, I had been wanting to move on to a new tablet for almost a year.
Thankfully, my wonderful wife blessed me with a much-needed update for my 40th birthday. She told me to pick anything I want, and after much research, I decided on a Google/Samsung Nexus 10 for reasons beyond the hardware.
My fallout with Lenovo
I hate to say bad things about Lenovo, mainly because I am still a major fan of their ThinkPad laptops. I always loved how the devices were incredibly durable, with solid hardware to make a Windows machine stand up to a Macbook any day.
I wish I could have said the same for their Android tablet. One year after the release, Lenovo announced it was dropping all support for the very tablet I and others spent $500 on, stating they were moving on to Windows 8. That meant no more updates, limited warranty coverage, and not even any trade-in or buy-back program for the many of us who were abandoned. With the power button going and the USB charging port wearing out, it was time to update.
I had several choices in my head for a new tablet. Of course many of you will scream “iPAD!” or even Windows 8, but I’ve stated my case before why I like Android. I like the freedom that I get to change my tablet to how I want it to work...rather than having the manufacturer tell me how I can use said tablet. iOS is still too restrained and limited in my book, while Windows 8 needs to mature more before I’ll think of switching over.
So with the best choices being the Nexus 10, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, or the Asus Transformer Infinity, I leaned over to the Nexus for the simple reason that Google runs it, and thus I’m guaranteed better support than I would get with the competitors.
This is one of the key problems with the Android ecosystem. With Apple and iOS, they update the hardware, but also the software every year. Everyone gets the software update regardless if you’re using brand-new or used hardware. With the Galaxy Note, Transformer Infinity, and even my old ThinkPad Tablet, you’re at the mercy of the manufacturer for software and OS updates.
When you think about it, it’s not in the interest of those manufacturers to give you OS updates. Not when they have new tablets on the horizon with the new OS updates. They don’t want you to hang on to a tablet for 5-6 years, but change it out every 1-2 years. This in my eyes is why we see phones that never get an OS update, and thus the fragmentation.
With the Nexus line, it’s run by Google regardless of whichever manufacturer provided the hardware. Google made these devices to highlight their Android ecosystem free of all the customizations and add-ons the manufacturers put in. It’s partially about a solid hardware experience, but also about giving the user the most up-to-date version of the OS, as older Nexus phone owners have been given updates. If anything, Google is running the Nexus line as Apple would when it comes to support, and in my book it’s the best choice if you want Android.
Looking at the Nexus 10
I’m not going to get too crazy-detailed with a “review”, because the tablet has been out for a year and you can find tons of reviews online. I will tell you what I liked from my own viewpoints. I’ll even caveat that despite the new Nexus tablet coming later this year, the current Nexus 10 is still a worthwhile tablet to own if you don’t wish to wait.
The first thing you can’t deny is that screen. It’s incredibly clean and crisp, with a resolution high enough to easily outpace an iPad. Photos and videos look amazing on it, and text reads cleanly. It’s a joy to read books and magazines on this device. The speed and performance is solid, even a year after release. I never have things get stuck, or take forever to open, and I haven’t had an app crash yet. Battery life is phenomenal as well. I’ll do two days of heavy use before having to recharge. Four if I’m not using it like crazy.
The overall shape of the device was iffy in the beginning, but now a winner in my book as well. I’ll be honest at first I was more used to the squared rectangles we normally see in tablets. When you hold the Nexus 10, with that rubberized back, you can see how much ergonomic thought went into the design on Samsung’s part. It just feels good. It’s light and comfortable, so you could hold it for long periods of time. Thin enough to put into a small bag, but thick enough to not feel fragile.
The ports are a big happy point. Just like with my previous ThinkPad Tablet, I like having USB access. The micro-USB port allows me to use mice, keyboards, or even hook up flash drives using an on-the-go (OTG) cable. I know some tell me “cloud”, but I like being able to expand the memory without reliance on a wifi signal. The Pogo port is something I praise Samsung for, as the issue of wear and tear on the micro-USB port due to charging will be no more. A Pogo plug simply grabs on magnetically, and thus I can charge in peace without worry of the port going bad over time.
Was there anything I didn’t like? At this point, I only had a few issues with the current version of Android (4.3), but I’ve also complained about iOS, Windows, and MacOS...so no one is perfect. Right now, one small issue I’ve hit were the auto brightness working a little too extremely where I could be sitting on my couch and small changes in light will drastically dim the screen. Many Nexus owners simply use manual brightness. The other was a few problems connecting USB devices due to a flaw in the 4.3 update to Android. Hopefully when more updates come we’ll see things tweaked.
I’m going to wrap this article up with a few accessories I would suggest for any Nexus owner and even owners of competing tablets, mainly to give praise where it’s due:
MoKo Ultra Slim Lightweight Smart-shell Stand Case: I had a MoKo portfolio on my ThinkPad Tablet, but this case is in my opinion the best for a Nexus 10. It’s thin enough not to bulk up the tablet, but tough enough to take normal wear and tear. My wife accidentally dropped my tablet and the case protected well.
The case also functions as a stand, similar to the Apple smart cover, and will turn on/off the tablet from sleep mode. Wonderful thing to keep the power button from wearing down.
ArmorSuit MilitaryShield: Again, a noted and trusted must for a tablet screen. I had one for two years on my last tablet and it protected the screen wonderfully. With a lifetime warranty and such ease in application, I can’t imagine picking any other protective film.
Pogo Cable: I mentioned the port earlier, but alas the cable does not come with the tablet (only a micro-USB cable and power adaptor). I sincerely suggest buying one, as it will not only charge your tablet faster than the micro-USB, but its magnetic setup will keep your micro-USB port from wearing out over time.
Logitech Tablet Keyboard: Some have complained how Samsung or Google never made a keyboard to connect to the Pogo port, but I prefer this keyboard when I need one. I picked it up back when I had my other tablet, and it serves me well when I need to sit and write up a blog article or lengthy emails. It’s small enough to toss in a messenger bag, but big enough not to strain your hands. The case also can act as a stand for your tablet as you type.
On-The-Go (OTG) Cable: If you dream of hooking up flash drives, a camera, or other USB devices to your Nexus 10, definitely pick up one of these. I actually picked up a 64GB flash drive just to carry movies with me on let’s say, a long vacation where the televisions are not speaking English.
Do you own a Nexus 10? What did you think of the tablet?